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Interview: Miguel Ochoa

Thursday, September 29, 2011 - 1:30 p.m.

This witness, identified as a friend of the Kimberly Pace and her boyfriend Paul Evans, was interviewed at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department by Detectives Armstrong and Murphy. The interview was recorded with the witness's knowledge and consent.

Participants:

  • Detective T. Armstrong
  • Detective S. Murphy
  • Miguel Ochoa

Detective Murphy: For the record, could you please state your name and address?

Miguel Ochoa: My name is Miguel Ochoa. I live at 620 Main Street in Abbeville.

Detective Murphy: Thanks for coming in to answer our questions. We appreciate your cooperation.

Miguel Ochoa: Not a problem, though I don't know how much I can help you. I didn't know much about Kim's life, other than with Paul, you know?

Detective Murphy: OK, we'll note that for the record.

Detective Armstrong: Let's start with how long you knew Kimberly Pace?

Miguel Ochoa: I met her after her and Paul started living together, so that'd make it about two years.

Detective Murphy: You met her when she and Paul Evans began cohabiting?

Miguel Ochoa: Jeez, that sounds kind of clinical. I met her at that diner, the Lucky Café, out on Highway 6. Paul took me out there to meet her.

Detective Murphy: This was a couple years ago? Not when Dr. Pace worked there?

Miguel Ochoa: Oh, God no, not when she worked there. That would have been... well, I didn't live here then. No, I guess she liked to hang out there with Paul, kind of private, no one bugging them. They could let their hair down there. You know?

Detective Murphy: No, I'm not sure I do know. Could you elaborate for us? Just for clarification sake?

Miguel Ochoa: Well, pretty much any place around town, either Kim or Paul were recognized ‒ her by students, him by artists, on so on. They liked to hang at the diner because none of those people went out there. They could have a bite, talk, have some coffee and so on, and not be bothered. Get it?

Detective Murphy: OK, I see now. So, Mr. Evans brought you out there in order to meet Dr. Pace?

Miguel Ochoa: Well, not exactly like that. He told me about her and he wanted me to meet her, so he suggested I just sort of show up, casual like. You know? No big deal?

Detective Murphy: And what happened in this meeting?

Miguel Ochoa: Nothing really, just a cup of coffee and some conversation. I liked her. She was a nice lady. I thought she and Paul could be great together.

Detective Murphy: You got on well with Dr. Pace?

Miguel Ochoa: Sure, I did. It's not like I saw her all that much. She was always pretty busy, Paul is usually pretty busy, and I have my own business to tend to also. But sure, whenever we hung out, we got along fine.

Detective Murphy: How long have you known Paul Evans?

Miguel Ochoa: About five years. Met him on a project in Tunica. You remember that big housing project Hawthorne Developments put up some years back? Anyway, there was a call out to carpenters, electricians, all kinds of construction workers for a 100-mile radius. Hawthorne was paying top dollar, so a lot of people signed on, even from far away. I was one of them and so was Paul. We realized pretty quick we were both coming to work from Oxford and started riding together to save gas money. Turned out, we hit it off right away. It happens like that sometimes, you know? Been friends ever since.

Detective Armstrong: What was your take on Paul's relationship with Kimberly? Good? Bad? Somewhere in between?

Miguel Ochoa: They had their ups and downs. Both of them could have a temper, you know? Both of them were really good at putting on the pout, if you know what I mean... But usually it worked, it clicked... they had something that seemed kind of special. A chemistry I guess you'd call it.

Detective Armstrong: Ever see them argue? Get violent with one another?

Miguel Ochoa: Violent? Oh man, no way. I mean, yeah sure, they yelled at each other, and I think Kimberly even tried to smash one of his bowls one time, but she happened to pick one that was damn near indestructible. Ended up making her laugh her ass off. You know? Paul too. No, there was no violence I ever knew of, not even in a kidding way.

Detective Armstrong: Yet, we understand they've had many breaks. He's stayed with you during all of them?

Miguel Ochoa: Yeah, the breaks had more to do with the other people in their lives, I think. Well, maybe more to do with the fact that Kimberly had other people in her life that Paul couldn't deal with too good. Plus they both were temperamental ‒ artistic, you know? Yeah, he stayed with me during all of them, I think.

Detective Armstrong: How long has Paul been staying with you this time?

Miguel Ochoa: I'd say about two, three weeks.

Detective Armstrong: Do you know why he moved out of Kimberly's house this last time?

Miguel Ochoa: I think he heard some rumors about her and some of her students. You know, like she was doing one of them or something.

Detective Murphy: And this made him jealous?

Miguel Ochoa: No, not jealous. It just pissed him off. I mean, he didn't believe that she was sleeping with any of her students. He'd seen her with them often enough to know better. It just pissed him off that, because of her familiar ways with the kids, it made people say that. I guess it kind of embarrassed him, you know? Hurt his pride some.

Detective Murphy: How long do you expect Paul will stay with you this time?

Miguel Ochoa: As long as he wants. He's hurting pretty bad right now over Kim. He can stay as long as he wants.

Detective Armstrong: In the previous times he stayed with you, he always got back together with Kimberly?

Miguel Ochoa: Yes, sir.

Detective Murphy: How long did the breaks usually last? Did he always go back to her?

Miguel Ochoa: It depended, but usually not more than a few weeks. They'd start missing each other and forget what they were mad about in the first place, you know? Anyway, usually three or four weeks, I guess. And yeah, they always got back together.

Detective Armstrong: Did you believe they would get together again after this break? Or did you think the split was final?

Miguel Ochoa: Naw, I knew they'd get back together. Never doubted it for a minute.

Detective Armstrong: Do you know Becky Pace?

Miguel Ochoa: Yeah, she's Kimberly's sister. Cute. I was going to ask her out, but Paul told me to back off.

Detective Armstrong: Back off? Why's that?

Miguel Ochoa: Not good form to date your buddy's little sister. And that's pretty much how he felt about her. So I stayed clear.

Detective Armstrong: What about Cheryl Weston?

Miguel Ochoa: I know she's a friend of Kim's. She owns that diner, The Lucky Café, and I met her sometimes when I went there. Wouldn't say I really know her well or anything. But she makes a damn fine cup of coffee and a mighty good sweet potato pie.

Detective Murphy: Do you know how Cheryl and Paul got along?

Miguel Ochoa: Paul respected her. She was good to Kimberly, and Paul appreciated that. He never really talks much about her, but I think they got on fine.

Detective Murphy: Do you know Jeremy Gladwell?

Miguel Ochoa: Only by his rep.

Detective Murphy: Meaning?

Miguel Ochoa: Well... we don't travel in the same circles.

Detective Murphy: What circles would those be?

Miguel Ochoa: I don't know the guy is pretty much all I'm saying. And nope, I didn't want to know him. Paul can't stand him. He was always over there, wanting to hang out with Kim when her and Paul were trying to get a little quality time together.

Detective Armstrong: What was Kimberly's reaction to Paul's opinion of her friend, Jeremy?

Miguel Ochoa: She didn't like it, but I think she understood anyway.

Detective Armstrong: Have you ever known Gladwell and Evans to fight over Dr. Pace?

Miguel Ochoa: Now there's a visual! No, can't say that I have.

Detective Armstrong: Do you know anything about her professional life? Know any of her students?

Miguel Ochoa: No. I saw her and Paul sometimes, you know, for pie and coffee or maybe to bowl a few frames. I didn't mix in with any of that academic stuff. Not my style.

Detective Armstrong: When was the last time you saw Kimberly?

Miguel Ochoa: Paul's opening on Saturday. It was real brief. In fact, me and Kim didn't even speak, just kind of waved at each other from across the room.

Detective Armstrong: Why didn't you speak?

Miguel Ochoa: She was on her way out. Funny, never occurred to me that would be the last time I'd see that girl. I should have chased after her, at least talked for a minute or two, huh?

Detective Armstrong: Where were you between the hours of 9:00 p.m. September 24th and 3:00 a.m. September 25th?

Miguel Ochoa: Like I said, I stopped by Paul's show and hung out there an hour or so. Then I left about 10:00 to meet up with a girl I know over at Clyde's.

Detective Armstrong: Can you tell us the name of this girl?

Miguel Ochoa: Sure, Tammy Freeman. I guess we're kind of seeing each other.

Detective Murphy: You sure she isn't your dealer?

Miguel Ochoa: Oh, she ain't doing that no more. She's been working on her own sculpting for a while now. She's doing good. She's working at Home Plate on the dinner shift. She's a changed woman. You'd hardly recognize her.

Detective Armstrong: And when did you part company with Tammy that night?

Miguel Ochoa: I didn't. She came home with me. I guess we got in around 1:00 a.m. or so. Saw Paul crashed out on the couch, tiptoed to bed. You know what I mean?

Detective Armstrong: Can you think of anybody who would have wanted to hurt, even kill Kimberly Pace?

Miguel Ochoa: No, I can't. I just don't understand it. She was a good girl. I can't really believe it's happened, you know? I keep thinking somebody is going to yell "April Fools!" or something.

Detective Murphy: What about Paul? Would he do something like this?

Miguel Ochoa: No, ma'am. I really don't believe he would. Ho loved that girl, still does. He'd never do that to her.

Detective Murphy: OK, thank you for coming in. If we have any further questions, our office will contact you.

Miguel Ochoa: Yes, ma'am. Afternoon.

End interview: 1:51 p.m.

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